Wednesday, February 13, 2013


Josh: What's that Mum?
Me: My skin is peeling from the sunburn.
Josh: Oh, I saw a snake do that once.

There is a difference between shedding skin due to sunburn and shedding skin like a snake!- but to my son, it seemed quite similar. We know that one is due to harm and the other is due to growth. One is local and painful and the other is whole and natural.

At the start of the year a lot of our New Years Resolutions are about shedding. Some of these might include shedding some weight, getting rid of clutter in our house, cutting back on spending, or pulling back from harmful habits. Our resolutions are often painful as we attempt to give up things we enjoy or are comfortable with, but most of these drills have only a local, limited effect and don't end up achieving the goal that we set in the first place. That sort of pain is not bad, but there is a better way to lose what we don't want around. Would you like me to show you? When the Bible talks about making changes in our lives, it is never by our own strength. The Bible always points us to God first, and when we seek Him, He works within us.

James 4:7-8 says "Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Come near to God and he will come near to you."

Hebrews 12:2 tells us "Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith."

God does desire us to outgrow what we have been comfortable in, but he doesn't usually rip it from us. He works in us so that those things no longer fit us anymore.
He changes out hearts so that we love Him more than other things which used to compete for our affection.
He changes our minds so that we think about Him more than things which used to capture our attention.
He changes our motives so that we serve Him more than pursuits which used to command our allegiance.

And He tells us to love Him with our whole being. "Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind/strength." (Matthew 22:37 and Deut 6:5). As we look to Him for our life, breath and strength He grows us from the inside so that the total and natural process of shedding the old and putting on the new can occur.

"...continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfil his good purpose." Philippians 2:12-13

How refreshing is that! As we open ourselves to His work in us, and commit ourselves to time in prayer and in His Word, He works in us to give us the desire and the ability to live as He knows is best for us. That is so freeing. No more new year resolutions but may it be a new way of living:
            Submitting to God,
            Fixing our eyes on Jesus,
            Loving God with all of our being
and watching how He changes us as he works from the inside out.

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